What has now been classified by many as the most severe drought to affect New York since the creation of the Drought Monitor, the drought of 2016 is a stark reminder of the importance of conserving water. In some regions of the state, streams and private wells ran dry, and some smaller water-systems had to impose water-use restrictions.
This legislation ensures that plumping fixtures sold or installed in the state reduce the amount of water used by aligning the State’s water efficiency standards with the Environmental Protection Agency’s “WaterSense” water efficiency guidelines. New York’s current water efficiency standards, last updated in 2002, are far less stringent than WaterSense standards.
Drought is not the only reason New York needs to update water efficiency standards – the more water that is wasted, the more wastewater systems are inundated with too much water, leading to billions of gallons of sewage discharged into our waterbodies annually. On an annual basis, 1.2 billion gallons of sewage is discharged in the Hudson River from the Capital region, 4 billion gallons of sewage is discharged in waterbodies near Buffalo, and nearly 28 billion gallons of sewage is discharged into the New York Harbor.
Updating water efficiency standards is a common-sense measure that not only prevents sewage overflows and helps us as our climate changes, but also saves consumers money spent on water bills.
Several other states, including California, Georgia, Texas, and Colorado, have already updated their water efficiency standards to match the WaterSense guidelines. This legislation, if passed, would put New York on the right track should the State be faced with another drought and prevent wasted water from impairing our waterbodies.
This bill amends the environmental conservation law to align New York’s water efficiency standards with federal guidelines.